OUR VISION ABOUT SAFETY
When it comes to traveling to remote and/or undeveloped areas, the first risk you can feel exposed to is related to transportation. Although the government adopted numerous new policies (most of them quite effective) to reduce road accidents, safety standards are here far lower than in our western countries. But you can be sure our drivers are all selected according to their driving skills and the quality of their vehicle. Except on our "Family hikes", it is also quite common to travel in a car that has no seat belt. They are in China unfortunately not mandatory for the backseats, but we are doing our best to make our drivers understand that they are necessary.
We have been working with many of our drivers for a long time, and have managed to share the message that road safety always comes first. When we are on vacation, we can slow down a little!
Physical safety of our travelers is our first concern. So in order to deal with most of the unexpected incidents, the guides from the agency always carry a full first aid kit, which is far from being common for other agencies in China. Do bring of course your current treatments (and prescriptions) and those that chronic conditions and/or allergies may require .
Before you leave, it is also important to check that your vaccinations are up-to-date, especially for the vaccines commonly administered in western countries (tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and B). A medical consultation at the Hospital for Tropical and Infectious Diseases can help you leave more serene.
Kids & altitude
Depending on the intended destination, altitude is a problem that we do not necessarily think of when it comes to traveling to west China. In Europe at least, this word is generally related to cold and it can be difficult to realize that we are actually at high altitude while we are crossing big cities on the Tibetan plateau and the temperature goes as high as 25°C.
Although the risk is most of the time really low, it is not advised to take kids to high places. Experts agree that before 10 years old, a kid should never spend a night over 3000m altitude. In order to guarantee the safety of the youngest, you can be sure that we follow these recommendations when it comes to designing our "Family hikes". But this doesn't mean that we can't temporarily go a bit higher during the day, and visit a city like Shangri-La which lies at 3200m. Like often, it is a matter of common sense, and most important, always take your time to gain altitude.
Safety in high altitude
Although the majority of our tours are accessible to whoever is in a good shape, some of our trekking routes take place in remote areas and require an extended stay at high altitude. Given that nobody is immune from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), in order to be better prepared in case of necessity, your main guide followed a medical training targeting professional mountain guides and is accredited "Medical Correspondent of IFREMMONT (Institute of Training and Research in Mountain Medicine)". This equips him with the following skillset:
On field emergency & evacuation procedure
Preparation & organization of the first aid kit
Adapted medical prescription
Pathology of cold, altitude and travel: understanding of physiological mechanisms, prevention, symptoms, field diagnosis, treatment and behavior to hold
Understand and optimize acclimatization
Constraints of remote & hostile environments
This accreditation also gives access to an emergency phone number allowing to make contact 24/7 with a doctor specializing in high altitude in case of emergency.
If you are planing a high altitude trekking with us (category 4) and we consider that an examination or specialized consultation is necessary before your departure, we can advise you to go through a consultation (in person or by videoconference via skype for example) with a doctor specialized in travel and altitude. This consultation (not mandatory but strongly recommended in some cases) takes place within the framework of the SOS-MAM project supported by IFREMMONT. This consultation will allow you to be more confident in your physical abilities, or detect some contraindications to the practice of trekking at altitude.